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Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Broken Social Scene
I'm discovering Toronto's Broken Social Scene belatedly, even though I had a chance to get on the bandwagon several years ago, thanks to a tip from one of my students. But I got sidetracked, put it off for later as I often do, particularly when advice is involved. He had told me that they seemed to match my musical taste perfectly. Often, when someone tells me that sort of thing, I'm disappointed. In this case, though, the advice was right. Their most recent album You Forgot It In People from 2002 -- they released a collection of B-sides and rarities last year -- is a smoothie made from ingredients that have been delighting me since I was a teenager: New Order's melodic base, Sonic Youth's thrum, the sonic spaciousness of late 60s psychedelia, and Pavement's facility for making songs that sound like they're falling apart and coming together at the same time.

It tasted so good I forgot the bad taste in my mouth. I had a really demoralizing experience today and had to make the long drive home shaking with distress. Luckily I'd insisted on bringing New Silver and could blast the record, look at the gorgeously cloud-shadowed ridgeline, and make vows of social chastity that I will surely end up breaking, but which were necessary for me to regain my composure. Yes, I did reflect on the fact that the band's name was improbably suited to my mood. The music, however, took precedence. Three years is a long time for a relatively new artist to go between albums. This is a collective, though, and the band has been touring regularly, so I anticipate that a new record will come out within the year. I can't wait. And in the meantime I'll be playing this one on auto-repeat while I do everything from driving around aimlessly in the dark to standing at the kitchen sink doing dishes.

Mode: drained
Muse: Oraison - Olivier Messiaen - OHM: The Early Gurus Of Electronic Music (Disc 1)

8 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 14th, 2005 06:39 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Remembering that you have a blog and recalling that I looked at it when I took your class last spring and relocating my energies from writing to prancing around the web and rethinking whether I really liked You Forgot it in People and redeciding that only about half the songs I liked, I read this entry at 11:14 pm. Funny that I was listening, and still am, to that very album and having mixed feelings (for the eighth or ninth time) about it when I came across your post. I am glad you like it even though I feel ambivalent about it. But I am most glad that the moment of looking at your blog somehow aligned with the moment of my listening to its content.

Although reading blogs when they aren't expressly political still makes me feel like I snuck into my brother's room and peaked into his personal diary, I might check your blog more often to see what interesting things you say. Don't worry, that is neither a threat nor a promise. Or even better, do you know of an interesting, academically- and politically-minded blog that I might post as a favorite? I occasionally read Michael Berube's, but maybe there is something just as interesting that you know about.

James L.

By the way, just so I can be added to those who offer suggestions that can be belatedly heeded, the William Shatner album "Has Been" is surprisingly good, as is Castanets' "Cathedral." But you really don't have to heed, because I only like about half of the Broken Social Science songs, so that might signal a divergence in musical tastes.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 14th, 2005 02:36 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I can always deal with a difference in opinion when it's expressed as respectfully as you express it!

Based on previous conversations about music, I can see why you might be more ambivalent about Broken Social Scene than I am. I'm much more into trippy art rock, for want of a better term, than I think you are.

Bérubé has links to good political blogs, obviously. You should check out the para-blog that Eric is working on too, if you haven't already. It's called Printculture.

Thanks for writing. I don't feel violated. Generally speaking, I only make public the private details that I want to turn from private into not-private.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 14th, 2005 03:02 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thanks for the response. Printculture seems good--Eric directed us to its MLA interview notes, and I have been skimming through it this morning. Yeah, it's nice.

I think my my trippy art rock tastes extends mainly to songs that seem decidedly non-punk (sorry, I know your enthusiasm for the genre). Slow is more a word for the kind of stuff I like, stuff that slowly builds, much like Broken Social Science's "Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl." Speaking of trippy art rock, I have been repeatedly drawn to M83's album "Before the Dawn Heals Us." It is fantastic.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 14th, 2005 03:18 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's how I would have described your taste. I never feel like a real punk in my own because I like the art part too much, prefer expansive to compact more often than not.

Bérubé recently had an entry in which he linked to a list of progressive political blogs.

Some day I might want to talk to you at greater length about the whole looking-at-my-brother's-diary idea. It's a common response to personal blogs and one that interests me as a counterpoint to what I will call the "reality-TV-ification" of American life.
From: (Anonymous) Date: February 14th, 2005 03:08 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I keep writing "Broken Social Science" instead of "Broken Social Scene"--I wonder what that says about me--maybe I am just stuck in a student's world.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 14th, 2005 03:18 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Every scholar in the humanities is responsible for "broken social science." :-)
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: February 14th, 2005 07:32 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I like that.

I don't know that I'll ever have the nerve or audacity to make a full-on "recommendation" about music to you (hell, it takes a lot of nerve just to confess a taste) but I do think sometime after you visited last spring and after our Amoeba excursion that I did email confession newfound love for Broken Social Scene. Not for the lyrics man but for this always precarious symphonic youth of things...
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: February 14th, 2005 07:41 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
You did at that!
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